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For more information on this release:
E-mail: Catalina Gonzalez (+353) 87 646 7535 Martina O'Callaghan (+353) 21 453 5491
For general information on CSO statistics: (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-8456

This release was compiled during the COVID-19 pandemic. For further information on the methodology applied in this release see the Technical Note on Monthly Unemployment Estimates and COVID-19 that was published alongside the March 2020 Monthly Unemployment Estimates release. For more information please also see the Press Statement Monthly Unemployment May 2020 and the Information Note on Implications of COVID-19 on the Live Register and the Monthly Unemployment Estimates.

CSO statistical release, , 11am

Monthly Unemployment

May 2020

Seasonally Adjusted FiguresNon Seasonally Adjusted Figures
 Number of persons unemployed Unemployment rate (%)Traditional Unemployment rate (%) COVID-19 Adjusted Unemployment rate (%)
May 2019124,800 5.2- -
April 2020133,800 5.45.4 28.2
May 2020139,200 5.65.8 26.1
   Percentage PointsPercentage Points  
Change in month5,400  0.20.4 -2.1
Change in year14,400  0.4- -

COVID-19 crisis continues to impact labour market in May 2020

Figure 1 Monthly Unemployment  rate seasonally adjusted
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The COVID-19 crisis has continued to have a significant impact on the labour market in Ireland in May 2020. While the standard measure of Monthly Unemployment was 5.6% in May 2020, a new COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment could indicate a rate as high as 26.1% if all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment were classified as unemployed.

The application of the standard methodology for Monthly Unemployment, shows a seasonally adjusted Monthly Unemployment Rate for May 2020 of 5.6%, up from 5.4% in April 2020 and up from 5.2% in May 2019. The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 139,200 in May 2020, compared to 133,800 in April 2020. When compared to May 2019, there was an annual increase of 14,400 in the seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed.  In May 2020 the Monthly Unemployment Rate for males and females were 5.5% and 5.7% respectively, see Table 1(a).

Breaking the results down by broad age group, the Monthly Unemployment Rate for those aged 15 to 24 years was 13.5%, while it was 4.5% for those aged 25 to 74 years, see Tables 1(b) and 1(c).

The methodology for the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates involves forecasting the number of persons who are unemployed using the trend in the Live Register.

As well as the standard Monthly Unemployment Estimates for May 2020, this release also presents an alternative COVID-19 adjusted unemployment measure estimating the share of the labour force in May 2020 that were not working due to unemployment or who were out of work due to COVID-19 and receiving the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. These estimates are presented in Table A1.

The lower bound of Monthly Unemployment rates and volumes presented in Table A1 are the non-seasonally adjusted estimates for May 2020 based on the standard Methodology. These lower bounds are based on the assumption that none of those in receipt of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment who are not already included on the Live Register would have been classified as unemployed if the payment did not exist.

If all claimants of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment who are not already included on the Live Register were classified as unemployed, the upper bound, or COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment indicates a rate of 26.6% for males and 25.5% for females in May 2020. Breaking the results down by broad age group, the new COVID-19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment is 51.0% for those aged 15 to 24 years and 22.5% for those aged 25 to 74 years. See Table A1.

Data in this release are subject to revision, caused by updates to the seasonally adjusted series, whenever new monthly data are added. In addition, it should be noted that larger revisions can occur when the most recent Labour Force Survey (LFS) data are included in the calculation process. 

For further information on Covid -19 Adjusted Measure of Unemployment, please refer to our Technical Note and Information Note .

Table 1a Seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment by sex - All persons aged 15-74 years
   Number of persons Unemployment rate (%)
   MalesFemalesAll Persons MalesFemalesAll Persons
Table 1b Seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment by sex - persons aged 15-24 years
   Number of persons Unemployment rate (%)
   MalesFemalesAll Persons MalesFemalesAll Persons
2018May21,30017,00038,300 14.412.813.6
 June21,40016,70038,100 14.412.313.4
 July22,00017,30039,200 14.712.313.6
 August22,50017,40040,000 15.112.413.8
 September23,00017,20040,100 15.212.313.8
 November23,20015,60038,800 15.111.813.6
 December23,10014,90038,000 15.011.313.3
2019January22,40013,90036,300 14.610.312.6
 February21,80013,90035,700 14.410.012.3
 March22,80014,80037,600 15.110.512.9
 May24,00015,80039,800 16.211.313.8
 June23,60015,50039,200 15.711.213.5
 July22,60014,80037,400 14.710.812.9
 August21,30014,40035,600 13.810.612.3
 September19,90014,30034,200 12.910.311.7
 October17,70014,50032,200 11.810.211.0
 November17,80014,60032,400 11.810.111.0
 December19,10014,80033,900 12.510.111.3
2020January22,20014,80037,000 13.910.112.1
 February21,90014,00035,900 13.69.611.7
 March22,60015,90038,500 13.911.012.5
 April22,50015,60038,100 14.110.812.6
 May24,00017,30041,300 15.011.913.5
Table 1c Seasonally adjusted monthly unemployment by sex - persons aged 25-74 years
   Number of persons Unemployment rate (%)
   MalesFemalesAll Persons MalesFemalesAll Persons
Table A1 Covid-19 Adjusted Monthly Unemployment Estimates classified by sex and age group
   Number of persons out of work1 Monthly Unemployment Rate %1
Month  MalesFemalesTotal MalesFemalesTotal
May 2020Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)78,86765,661144,528
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)356,356289,348645,704 26.625.526.1
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)28,66720,24148,908 17.613.615.7
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)84,29274,203158,495 51.950.051.0
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)50,19045,42095,610
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)272,064215,144487,208 23.121.822.5
April 2020Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)72,96359,685132,648
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)398,817295,866694,683
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)24,21315,90040,113 15.511.213.4
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)85,55871,932157,490 54.850.652.8
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)48,75043,78592,535
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)313,259223,934537,193 26.722.624.8
March 20202Persons aged 15-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)67,30255,991123,293
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)193,331188,980382,311 14.616.715.5
 Persons aged 15-24 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)20,37013,52433,894 13.29.911.6
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)47,37547,76995,144 30.734.832.6
 Persons aged 25-74 yearsLower Bound (Traditional MUR)46,93242,46789,399
  Upper Bound (COVID-19 Adjusted MUR)145,956141,211287,167 12.514.213.2
1 Not seasonally adjusted
2 Revised

Background Notes


The purpose of this release is to provide a detailed series of monthly unemployment estimates. The release contains both monthly unemployment rates and monthly unemployment volumes. 

Calculation of Monthly Estimates

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) provides benchmark estimates of employment and unemployment for each quarter since the beginning of 1998. These quarterly benchmark estimates are then used to compile monthly data using the Proportional Denton method. The main characteristic of this method is that the monthly Live Register series is used as an indicator to disaggregate the quarterly LFS unemployment series into a monthly series in such a way as to minimise the differences between two consecutive months. It also ensures that the average of three months in a particular calendar quarter is equal to the corresponding LFS estimate.

For months where the quarterly unemployment data is not yet available, the ratio of the LFS monthly estimate to the Live Register monthly estimate (i.e. the benchmark to indicator ratio) is forecast forward in order to extrapolate a monthly LFS estimate. This approach adheres to agreed international practice.

Seasonal Adjustment

To correct for typical seasonal patterns, the data series included have been concurrently seasonally adjusted. This seasonal adjustment is completed by applying the X-12-ARIMA model, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the case of these monthly unemployment estimates, seasonal adjustment is conducted using the indirect approach, where each individual series is independently adjusted.  To preserve consistency between the individual and aggregate series, the series for gender, age group and total monthly unemployed are then created from these component series. The series for monthly unemployment rates are likewise created from these component series.

Seasonally adjusting the Monthly Unemployment series during the Covid-19 crisis period will be challenging until the scale and shape of its impact on the time series is better understood. This initial seasonally adjusted result might be revised for some months ahead as future observations become available. Users should be aware that there is increased uncertainty around the seasonally adjusted figures during this period.

Additional Background Information

Further information regarding the LFS and Live Register series are available from each respective release, while specific information regarding the new LFS and the impact of the revisions arising from the Census of Population 2016 is available in an additional information note.


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